Jesus the gentle countryman
‘O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, killing the prophets and stoning those who are sent to you! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not!’ Matthew 23:37. This image, in a different context, occurs in Luke 13:34. It is probably the gentlest image in the whole of the New Testament; it comes in an intriguing – not to say shocking – place, immediately after the seven inexorably severe ‘woes’ spoken by Jesus against the Scribes and Pharisees. Jesus’s twofold messages of destruction and love are irreconcilable. This single verse, which speaks so eloquently of reconciliation and compassion, is immediately followed by ‘Behold, your house is forsaken and desolate. For I tell you, you will not see me again, until you say, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the lord.”’ So it is not as though one...
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